How the US can stop Maduro from stealing Venezuela’s gold – Washington Examiner

In a tweet on Friday morning, national security adviser John Bolton effectively confirmed that Nicolas Maduro is paying Russia to guarantee his regime’s survival.

There’s a simple way to stop Maduro from using these lifelines. The U.S. should ask Juan Guaido whether he wishes for the U.S. to interdict Maduro’s money planes. When Guaido says yes, and he almost certainly will, the U.S. Air Force or Navy can intercept the money planes and force them to land at Guantanamo Bay or another U.S.-friendly air base.

This wouldn’t be that complicated. The Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group could be diverted south of its present Atlantic position to provide this air role, or other fighters could be flown from the U.S. and refueled in the air. Regardless, this legal action authorized by executive consent and international law would allow Venezuela’s gold reserves to be kept safe for Guaido once he finally takes power.

This speaks to a broader point: While the U.S. is actively facilitating Guaido’s constitutionally vested empowerment via a means of overt and covert political and financial support, we can do more. And we can do more short of using military force in any lethal sense. That’s because the U.S. has the capacity to outmatch Russian support for Maduro. In financial terms, military terms, and political terms (Maduro is an evil leader, and the region’s big players are aligned against him), we hold more cards of influence than Moscow. We should use these instruments of national power to deter and degrade Maduro’s control over power. Let the Russians and Chinese complain.

Let us empower the rightful leader of Venezuela to bring his people out of the abyss in which Maduro has them imprisoned.

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